Does Anybody Have a Problem with That?: Politically Incorrect's Greatest Hits

( 2 )

Overview

  • People are getting stupider.
  • The National Enquirer is always right.
  • Howard Stern should get over himself.
  • Fame is the worst drug.

    These and countless other ...
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Overview

  • People are getting stupider.
  • The National Enquirer is always right.
  • Howard Stern should get over himself.
  • Fame is the worst drug.

    These and countless other strident assertions are contained in Does Anybody Have a Problem with That?, the collection of the greatest hits of Bill Maher's TV series, Politically Incorrect.

    Bill Maher presides over the most opinionated show on television. Maher and his panels of pundits and pop stars tackle the really important issues, pontificating liberally and illiberally to produce funny, smart, provocative, award-winning TV. And now here's a sampling of those opinions that will guarantee to make you the hit of every cocktail party. According to Maher, Vietnam was a smart, noble war; AIDS ribbons are stupid; we should get rid of Santa Claus; inner children should grow the hell up; everything that used to be sin is now a disease; strippers get the most respect; and there's a lot of "convenient feminism." And he gives out eight "Get Over Yourself" awards to the likes of Newt Gingrich, Howard Stern, and Deion Sanders.

    Bill Maher has an opinion on everything, and he wants to share them all with you. Does anybody have a problem with that?
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Comedy Central channel's premier talk show, Politically Incorrect, appears to have single-handedly revived political satire on television. Acerbic host Maher supplies an eclectic assortment of guests, who are goaded into quibbling, arguing, and shouting about everything from gays in the military to violence in the media. While the television show is a refreshing breath of topnotch satire, Maher's attempt to capture the essence of individual programs in this compilation of commentaries falls short of the mark. Maher has assembled some of the program's most memorable highlights, but outside the context of the programs, his tongue-in-cheek observations seem less interesting. Still, the book provides a useful record of individual programs, broadcast dates, and guests. That, coupled with the show's popularity, would make it a reasonable purchase for most libraries.Joe J. Accardi, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
Ilene Cooper
Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" program on the Comedy Channel has brought a fresh breeze of irreverence to the airwaves by firmly adopting "an attitude of disgust toward unthinking, dogmatic politics of every stripe." That attitude comes through consistently here, but the organization of the book is puzzling. In one-page segments devoted to one of the show's topics ("Impeach Clarence Thomas," "Clinton Should Sleep Around" ), the text lists the guests who discussed the subject, offers a summary of Maher's "incorrect" position on it, and concludes with a quote or two, apparently from the transcripts. Some of this proves very funny ("It turns out that all those times Woody Allen talked about masturbating, he was actually having sex with his inner child" ), but we never really have a sense of what happened on the show--what the guests said or who argued with whom. Either Maher should have just collected random funny bits or attempted to re-create the interplay on the actual shows. Still, there's plenty to laugh at here, and how could anybody have a problem with that?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517323847
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Pages: 273

Meet the Author

Bill Maher is the host and creator of Politically Incorrect. He is also a state-of-the-art stand up comedian.

Biography

Some comics parlay their routines into sitcoms and movies; Bill Maher chose unconventionally and became a political gadfly. After building his reputation for biting, unsparing humor in an '80s standup act, Maher entered the late-night television arena as host of Politically Incorrect, a raucous celebrity forum that originated on Comedy Central in 1993 and later ran on ABC until 2002.

On the show, which presented an unlikely foursome of celebrities and pundits debating national issues, Maher was the "moderator" -- though the self-defined Libertarian rarely refrained from excoriating guests he disagreed with before cutting to commercial. Maher's Libertarian status has been challenged (Salon did an entire piece informing Maher that he was "more or less a liberal"), but his ability to incite discussion has never been in question. The success of the show led to a 1996 book tie-in, Does Anybody Have a Problem with That?, which offered highlights from Maher's unfettered commentary targeting everything from AIDS ribbons to Howard Stern to "convenient feminism." Here's his response to secondhand smoking complaints: "It only seems fair that if I can put out my cigarette, you can tell your kid to shut up. Because if you don't tell your kid to shut up, the next time, when you're not looking, I'm gonna give him a cigarette." Maher's fans like his willingness to sacrifice tact and decorum for the sake of sheer honesty; like P. J. O'Rourke, he has an ability to make even his ideological opponents laugh.

The Politically Incorrect book wasn't Maher's first; he wrote a novelization of his standup experience, True Story, in 1994. The blunt, sex-spiked account of comedy club life is not for the squeamish, but it does deliver a realistic portrait. Of the five comedians who inhabit Maher's novel, the New York Times wrote, "They are not deep or refined characters, and the wit is not subtle or dry, but they all have charm, even if it comes from a rueful acknowledgment of their fecklessness and their failings."

Ironically, the same equal-opportunity-offender approach that made Maher such a hit may have been what finally did in his show. True to form, Maher managed to anger many even in America's all-for-one climate following the September 11 attacks. The week following the tragedy, Maher said during an argument on his show: "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." The resulting tempest in a teapot was enough to make advertisers Sears and FedEx pull out of the show, and it was cancelled shortly thereafter.

With When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden, Maher did not abandon his comedic tenor -- his promotional tour included stand-up engagements -- or his contrarian views. But he tempered the sarcasm with sincerity. "I can't deny it, I do hope you check out this book," he wrote in a note to readers on his web site. "I feel like it's the first attempt to indicate to people stuff they can actually DO to help fight the big terrorism war, so we can, you know -- win." Maher also said he donated part of the proceeds from his book to the USO and Operation USA.

Maher told US Weekly in 2000 that True Story was "the book I have in me. I'm very proud of it, but I could never write another one." This turned out to be not quite true, though it seems unlikely he'll try another novel. After his show ended, Maher told the Los Angeles Press Club (which gave him its 2002 President's Award) that though he wouldn't seek another show like Politically Incorrect, "I'm definitely still going to be talking about issues. I'm still going to be a comedian. I'm sure I'll still be controversial, but it won't be exactly me and four people every night." When You Ride Alone fulfills Maher's prophecy, and confirms his continuing ability to start conversations -- or arguments.

Good To Know

Maher writes a monthly column for Details magazine.

The title of Maher's 2002 book When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden comes from a World War II poster he saw that read, "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler -- Join a car-sharing club today." The book contained 33 spoofs on the wartime propaganda posters that are being offered for sale, including one that reads, "Put a flag on your car...it's literally the least you can do."

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    1. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 20, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Cornell University, 1978

Read an Excerpt

Does Anybody Have a Problem With That?"
Excerpt - No-Children Section
First aired 2.25.94


Americans long ago fell in love with the concept of rights, and that includes the right to squabble over whose rights are more important, your rights or my rights. It used to be my right to smoke a cigarette anywhere I damn well pleased, but nonsmokers organized and fought and captured that flag. So, good for them. But the truth is, America causes cancer. It's in every unnatural product and process and place in our lives, so to pick out one noxious fume among the hundreds we imbibe each day probably won't change the statistics all that much. Which is fine, except if we're going to get huffy about people doing things that annoy us, let's not be so selective about it.

Someone--let's say me--might enjoy cigarettes, but not children. Does that make me bad? I think it just makes me different, and not all that different. Plenty of people would rather have a cigarette than a child, and it's about time we stood up and demanded no-children sections just like they have no-smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes, because a screaming baby on the Continental red-eye is as hard on everybody's heart and blood pressure as two packs of Luckys. Don't make me get the statistics, because there are none, which is ridiculous. If they study the effects of secondhand smoke, they should study the effects of secondhand screaming and bratty behavior.

They say everybody loves kids, but that's wrong. Everybody loves their own kids. I don't like your kids any more than you like my cigarettes. In fact, your kids are the reason I smoke. A parent shares their child's joy and pain; I just getthe pain. And children under two years old? They act like such . . . well, babies. Like screaming and crying is really a way to solve your problems. When I see how a child under two years old is behaving, I just want to say to him, "Grow up. Just grow up." Even churches once had crying rooms, and I think we well know that the Church loves its kids--sometimes a little too much. But it only seems fair that if I can put out my cigarette, you can tell your kid to shut up. Because if you don't tell your kid to shut up, the next time, when you're not looking, I'm gonna give him a cigarette.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Better to Be Born with a Pretty Face Than a Pointy Head 1
The Man Who Knew Too Much 11
Inside the Beltway and Other Dirty Stories 23
Countries That Love Too Much, and the Starving Masses That Hate Them 35
Democracy Inaction 49
The Best Things in Life Aren't Free 57
Twelve Really Stupid Angry Men 73
No, We Can't All Just Get Along 89
The City That Never Sleeps - or Showers 103
Eating Apple Pie and the Girl Next Door 117
We Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog 131
The O. J. Simpson Case: Or, 51 Ways to Leave Your Lover 135
The Fourth Estate Sale 149
Cum as You Are 159
Couch Potato Famine 165
We Love to Get High, and It Shows 183
The Fairer Sex - or Are They? 201
Kids Aren't People Too 213
Holidays on Thin Ice 229
Below the Bible Belt 239
Field of Nightmares 251
Things We Want to Kill 263
My Dream Panels 273
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